Is it too early to take the plunge and buy them some?
No. Junior skis and junior boots are cheap new. Unless they start a race program.
I guess a ski swap would be an option. How is the resale on used skis?
Pretty bad. Actually really, really bad.
- Anything over $200-250 is a very, very hard sell at local swaps which means that very newest gear (rep demos say) is not likely to be consigned. Otherwise, stuff goes quickly, particularly in 165cm-150cm lengths.
- ebay costs and shipping costs kill margin on any ski other than a "halo" ski meaning one that the skiing press has blabbed on and on about. With ski shipping ~$45 now
- specialty forums (epic, TGR) tend to give decent-but-not great return on halo skis (fat skis or high-performance groomed carvers)
Now on to my wife and I, we both have boots that we are happy with. I rent demo skis each year for the season as well. My wife is turning into her mother and seems to enjoy managing the base camp on Eagle Swoop and watching us ski most days. Out west she will be on slopes though. Should we/I make the investment on a pair skis for me/her?
IMO, only if buying skis saves you time out west or assures availability.
Right now, your cost is $160/season for the demos (that may or not include high-level or halo skis), which is fairly unbeatable, unless they do not have a ski you want. Can your demo lease exchange to a western ski for low cost or free? If so, you're saving so much money it's funny.
My theory has been kind of like leasing a car, rent for the season and you get the new skis every year. However at $160/season for the past few years I could have probably had a pretty nice pair...
Let's see, what does $160/year for 3 seasons + $80 ski swap profit ($100 sale price minus ski patrol cut) buy one right now on fleebay.
For less than a total price of $560 shipped one can BIN:
Rossi Z9 - not bad, limited out west
Rossi B83 - not bad, limited at speed or in Utah powder
Dynastar Contact Ltd- really nice in everything except pow
Volkl Tigershark 10ft - really, really nice in the east
Volkl Aura - really nice ladies' pow ski
Dynastar Mythic riders - nice easy men's pow boards
Volkl Attiva S5 - nice ladies allround performance cruise
Are you tempted by the performance of any of those?
Whew, so that being said what is everyone's reccomendations?
Stick with the demo program unless you want something specific for yourself; rent skis for the wife out west and save on airline baggage fees.